Kittens indeed grow fast but when does a cat stop being a kitten anyway? Check out this article to find out if your furball is an adult yet.
It's common knowledge among cat parent that kittens have a rather rapid growth rate. At birth, with its eyes as well as ears closed, your fluffy friend is pretty much helpless without outside assistance. That being said, it only takes a couple of months for newborn felines to learn how to independently feed, eliminate,... Therefore, it seems like kittens would become adult cats in a blink of an eye. However, several questions still trouble first-time pet owner: when does a cat stop being a kitten? Is there any sign? How to make sure that kittens grow up naturally?
So you have many questions in mind but few answers? If that is so, this article is what you need. Down below, you shall find virtually everything that cat parents have to keep in mind regarding the developments of kittens.
The Timeline Of Kitten Development
While talking about the question of "when does a cat stop being a kitten?", time is the all-important reference. In most of the cases, it's possible to judge if a kitten is a cat using the time factor. The followings contain several important marks in the development of kittens that you should remember
- Week 2: Kitten could open their eyes
- Week 3: Kitten could open their ears
- Week 4: Kittens could urinate/defecate all by themselves. Before Week 4, kittens need encouragement from the mother cat to eliminate. Additionally, around Week 4, the baby teeth of pets start erupting through the gums. From From Week 8 to Week 12: Kittens could receive the much-needed vaccinations
- Between Month 4 and Month 5: The baby teeth of your furball would be replaced by adult teeth.
- Month 6: Kittens should be ready for neutering/spaying surgery.
- Month 12: Kittens nearly reach their full body size and could be considered as adult cats
So after your kitten reaches 1 year of age, you could generally think of it as an adult cat though its daily behaviors may say otherwise. All in all, the best answer to the question of "when does a cat stop being a kitten?" is usually "right after its 1st birthday". Of course, certain kittens might require more than a year to mature, especially ones that belong to big cat breeds. However, the 1-year mark is widely used as an indication of adulthood in the felines for most of the time.
Telling Kittens From Cats: A Couple Of Signs Of Adulthood
For the sake of convenient, people tend to use the time factor to decide if a kitten is a cat. Still, what if you recently adopted a kitten from the street without knowing its age? In such a scenario, you must assess the characteristics of your fluffy friend in order to draw a proper decision.
Regarding fur, kittens often have a fluffy and dowry coat. On the other hand, the coat of adult cats packs a shiny and sleek appearance. As time passed by, the coat of the felines gets less and less sleek due to a combination of old ages and lacks of grooming. The presence of matted furs indicates old cats as well. So by observing and stroking the coat of your kitten, you could have a pretty good idea about its age.
Kittens happen to be small-boned which results in slightly unusual proportions in most cases. For instance, kittens often have big paws for their bodies. Use that to your advantage by taking into account the body size of your furball while estimating its actual age.
The face of kittens looks roundy with large eyes and feathery cheeks, facial features would be more pronounced over time. Because of that, compared to young felines, the face of adult cats seems longer and their nose stands out more.
As mentioned above, kittens shall lose their baby teeth and gain new adult teeth once they reach 6 months of age. Hence, if your fluffy friend is willing to cooperate here, open its mouth a bit to see the inner teeth. If the teeth seem to be small and thin, your pet may be a kitten. If the teeth seem well-developed and extremely white, your cat is probably an adult.
In order to support their rapid growth, kittens must eat a lot which often leaves them in a hyper state. Aside from nap time, expect kittens to roam around the house knocking down stuff without a care in the world. As the felines get older, they would steadily mellow out. That is why it's a good idea to take a close look at the activity level of your fluffy friend before guessing its age.
Note: If you want a precise number, it's strongly recommended that you take your kitten to the local vets. Most veterinarians could give you the age of the pet after assessing its body features as well as other indicators.
Check us out for further detailed cat's health guide!
Looking After Growing Kittens: Suggestions
Knowing how to answer the question of "when does a cat stop being a kitten?" is nice but you must put the knowledge to use. Cats require different cares at different states so if you want your kitten to grow up to be a healthy cat, take care of it. In most of the cases, it's necessary that you:
Put Together A Sound Diet
After birth, kittens only need milk from the mother cat. If your furball happens to be an orphan, give it milk replacers every few hours. At around 1 month of age, the felines enter the weaning phase in which they move from milk to solids foods. When kittens become fully weaned, they eat exclusively solids foods. In order to ensure that your pet receives enough nutrients daily, only give it cat food labeled as "for kitten"
Set Up An Enriching Environment
While many people assume cats to be low maintenance pets, the felines still need attention from humans, especially growing kittens. Spare a few moments every day to play with your fluffy friend so it never feels neglected in the house.
Think About Periodic Vet Checkups
Generally speaking, the fragile constitution of kittens means that even minor health issues could give them a lot of troubles. Hence, it's widely advised that you take your kitten to the vet every once in a while for examination.